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Ceres High stages annual basketball camp
Izaiah Saenz, 8, was among the 12 participants in the session for fourth through eighth graders at the 27th Annual Ceres High School Basketball Camp on June 15 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

A total of 12 youngsters signed up for Ceres High School's 27th Annual Basketball Camp, staged June 6-17, at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Mike Turpin and Aimee Gunzenhauser, head coaches of the Bulldogs' varsity and junior-varsity girls hoops teams, respectively, provided instruction.

"We're introducing them to what basketball is," Turpin said. "We're big on building skills. It's more than just fun."

Ceres residents Gurmen Bahia (14), Elise Cannella (12), Mackay Cannella (12), Jimmy Ballard (11), Hodari Smith (10), Izaak Saenz (8) and Izaiah Saenz (8) were among the participants during the second session of the camp, held June 13-17, at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

They received 10 hours of instruction in a five-day span.

They practiced Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Elise Cannella attended both sessions of the camp.

She learned how to dribble and make layups with her left hand.

"It's really fun," Elise said. "I'm going to Mae Hensley. I want to play basketball there. This is going to help me. I'm learning new things. I've gotten a lot better."

"Basketball is my favorite sport," Ballard said. "I like doing it. It gives me a lot of exercise. I'm going to come back next year."

"I'm learning how to shoot the ball and play defense," Smith said. "I love basketball."

"It's fun," Izaak said. "I've learned how to shoot and dribble. I can become a better player if I come here every year."

Each camp participant improved.

"Now, they're doing cross-over drills," Turpin said. "It's an incredible transformation I've seen. They want to learn and work hard."

Turpin was hired to serve as head coach of Ceres High's varsity girls basketball program.

The JV Bulldogs posted a 14-9 overall record and finished in second place in the Western Athletic Conference standings (9-3) under Gunzenhauser's guidance last winter.

"It's my first year," Turpin said. "We'll build it (the basketball camp) back up to where it used to be when Shawna Nunes was here."